Early Autumn and the Last Flowers of Summer

Back in early spring I sowed twenty sunflower seeds in a tray indoors and about six weeks later I considered planting them out.

April was unusually cold with quite a few frosts that would certainly have killed off the seedlings – so no planting out in April. I waited for the arrival of May. It began cold and then turned extremely wet, but eventually the temperatures warmed up. I thought now is the moment to plant our my sunflower seedlings.

The clematis has done well this year enjoying damp roots, but with enough summer sun to flower.

It looked at first as though I had timed it perfectly as May became June and the temperatures began to rise towards a little summer heat. And then it poured. It rained and rained and in my part of the world the rainfall was almost double the average for the time of year. And, as I blogged in ‘climate, rain, snails‘ earlier this year my backyard offered the ideal conditions for a population explosion of slugs and snails.

The upshot of all the rain was only one of the original twenty sunflower seedlings made it to flowering maturity. Not only did just a single plant survive, but it has flowered so late it has provided the feature blooms for the ‘last flowers of summer 2021’ arrangement.

I thought the one stem with its five blooms would look balanced and in proportion placed in my grandmother’s old, blue and white vase. Of course, I had forgotten that I’d never seen fresh flowers in this vase and soon discovered why. Somewhere it has a fine, hairline crack. First I grabbed a plate to collect the slowly pooling water, but no.

I think you’ll agree the plate doesn’t look right, too bright and white. So thinking a bowl would also be more practical for the slow leak, I tried a gold bowl and plate set up. That all just looked weird.

Knowing when you are beaten is a strength – apparently. Though only mildly irritated I pulled apart the arrangement, chopped stems, ditched the leaking vase and stuffed the flowers into a trusted leak-free milk jug. Finally, the last bouquet of this year’s homegrown flowers for my kitchen table. A touch dumpy, but very colourful and cheery.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

16 thoughts on “Early Autumn and the Last Flowers of Summer”

    1. Thank you. As a longtime gardener I have come to accept the ups and downs. I have found that photographing my flowers is a benefit to my work as well as being pleasurable too. Makes all the weeding and watering worthwhile.

  1. Your arrangements and photography always brighten my day and make me smile. The vase is gorgeous and classic, and although the combination didn’t suit your taste, from where I’m sitting that plate looks like a Meissen or something equally timeless.

    1. Thank you. I think flowers bring a lot of joy. I guess it is also that their beauty is so fleeting. I like the vase (paternal grandmother’s) and the plate (maternal great-grandmother’s) both ceramics are rare survivors of tempestuous households. At least the men broke the china and not the women.

      1. Well, I’ll share with you I had one of those tempestuous relationships and got tired of the crockery being broken piece by piece. So one day I opened the cupboard and said, ‘if you’re going to do this – do a good job’ and I ( ! ) smashed the lot on the floor. I served his dinner out of a saucepan for a few days, and then went to the thrift store, came home with a set of plastic plates, and told him to do his best at breaking those. That was in the final months of our three year relationship.

      2. Oh – that is a solution and a half! It was all about intimidation wasn’t it. I think my grandmother learnt to minimise what was placed on the table as my grandfather would simply pull the tablecloth and then the whole lot ended up on the floor – food and all. I can see why my mother was a bag of nerves.

      3. I can remember the feeling of dread when I heard the front door – what mood would he be in today. But it’s not easy to extract yourself from that situation, even though women now have so many more options than your grandmother.

      4. It’s the continual undermining of confidence and persistent belittling that often saps a woman’s ability to get out. Oh so very difficult.

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